Human Security: Reverence For God More Important — "The Identity Of Our Concerns": Part 4
Imam W. D. Muhammad
(Editorial Note: How to manage "importance" was the focal point of this lecture by Imam W. D. Muhammad in Newark, N.J. on July 9,1988, with that number one importance being Allah and the management of our duties to Allah.)
So when you get up, you should not just wake up bodily. The boxer that gets knocked down and gets back on his feet, the referee will not Jet him fight just because he is on his feet. He will say, "Yes, you woke up bodily, now let us see how your mind is operating. How many fingers do you see? Where do you live? What is your telephone number?" Now if the boxer makes all mistakes in answering these, the referee says for him to sit down and announces the new champion.
So we have in the prayer call, "hayya alia salat." It means to come alive, wake up, liven up. The first thing to get up must be the body. But then the mind has to be awaken. And Allah wants us to come with awake minds. An awake mind is an alert mind. The degree of awaken-ness can be measured by the degree of alertness. "Hayya alia salaP is to become aware, to become conscious, to become alert in your mind that God is more important. And that is the address to an awaken mind and a conscious mind that God is more important.
After hearing the Adhan (the Call) all the way up to this point of "hayya alia salat," saying come to prayer, you should be awake fay then. You should be awake mentally by this point. You have heard "Allahu-Akbar" twice. You have heard "Ashsha-du an la-illaha illallah" twice. You have heard "Ashshadu anna Muhammadan rasullul-lah" twice. Then you hear, "hayya alia salat," so you should be awake by now. If you are not, then you had better hurry and wake up. Wake up to come alive to prayer. And "hayya alia salat" is said twice.
There is a reason for saying it twice. It is because we are a creature of two sides; we are creatures of the left side and creatures of the right side. We are creatures of the dark side and creatures of the light side. These new students of the mind and nervous system have cut us into and talk about the dark side and the light side and give us all these different names to these sides of us. We know for a fact that we are creatures of two sides, and we have to wake up on both sides. You have to come alive on the dark side and on the light side.
We cannot live totally in the light. I know I can't You will be in the light and all of a sudden the sun sets. And I mean the sun will set on whatever you were in the light on. Whatever you are in the light on, if you keep pursuing the light, eventually the sun will set, If you have any sense, then you will say, "It is time to rest. The day has been spent." Now if you are a crazy enthusiast, then you will keep on going in the darkness and think you are still in the light. But most of us know when our sun is setting. And that person will say, well it is time to rest.
But "hayya alia salat" is not all, behind it there is something else. The muezzin will turn towards the dark side, to the left, and say, "hayya allal falah." What is "falah.” You will say, "falah" is success. Yes it is, but what is it in the common language? In the common language it is "cultivation." Cultivation has made man successful. He has cultivated the land and has become successful. He cultivated that which is uncultivated, and he has become very successful. "Hayya allal falah." Come to cultivation.
You sit there and say, "He is introducing something new. I have never seen that. Where did he get that from?" But I have just explained it, and you were a witness. And now you are going back into the dark by yourself And you say "hayya allal falah" - not once, but it is said twice. You say "Come to cultivation" twice, and before you said "come to salat" twice. It is because in this world that we call the material world, the world of vision, there is also the dark side and the light side.
Even to the world that you say you know, there is a lot of unknown in it. Allah says that there are worlds that He has created that you know and that you know not. And since this Holy Qur'an was revealed, they have discovered worlds that men at that time did not know. There is the world of "microbes." They have discovered a whole new world that man did not know, and it is the world of microbes. There are microorganisms that we can see now because of the invention of the microscope, but men in those days could not see those creatures, And they were existing back then, just as they are now. Back then Allah had not yet blessed man with the means of discovering that world of microbes. But Allah had said it; "that there are worlds that I have created that you know and that you know not."
It is not only that. My own spirit, for I have a spirit in me and I need something from the visible world - but still there is another side. The visible world will satisfy my needs up to a point with this concrete reality or concrete things, and then there is a component of the concrete thing that still hangs with me. Though this concrete thing has been used up as a "concrete," there is an "abstract" part of that concrete that hangs with me, and I will still want it, [ will carry it on.
I will eat the piece of pie, and the pie will be finished. But later on I will be thinking about the piece of pie and enjoying it as though I am eating it again. You also know the experience. You will have a beautiful car that you just bought, that Porche or Saab that you love it so much. You will be through driving and can't drive any more. You will be sitting at the table eating, and your wife will say, "I can tell your mind is not on what you are doing. What are you thinking about." You will answer, "My car!" So there is a light side and a dark side even to this world.
Also for the spiritual world there is a light side and a dark side. There are both. Now man needs to cultivate that that is undeveloped. And the left of most people is more undeveloped than the right. He needs to cultivated that that is undeveloped in himself to start with. You have a mind that is undeveloped, and you need to cultivate it. You have human sensitivities that are undeveloped, and you need to cultivate those human sensitivities. You have an intellect that is undeveloped and you need to cultivate that intellect.
Also you will see in your environment and will see other people, like in Japan, who have developed things and are sending them all over the world as finished products. Then you look at the land you have and there is nothing developed. So you need to develop that. This religion calls us to come alive. What is awakeness and awareness and the state of being alive ? It is acknowledging the most important and being able to identify the most important. It is managing what is most important in my life. And it is giving credit to the most important, God first of all. It is also to be intelligent in my faith and in my belief; they should stick with intelligence.
Don't follow voodoo or any of that stuff. Don't follow astrology and all of that stuff. Muslims, that is a sin for you! Don't follow practices like the "evil eye," for it is a sin. We should follow faith intelligently, and we should not pursue anything for which there is no knowledge base. We should not pursue mysteries and devilish things or wicked things. We should not pursue games, for that is what it amounts to. They are games of ignorance and games of exploitation, where the slicksters are taking advantage of the fools that buy the magic.
We are to cultivate and worship, for worship lifts us up. The worship of Allah lifts us up in our spirits, and it lifts us up in our senses. It raises us up from inferior things, from vulgar things, and from self destructive things. It lifts our senses and our spirit up. That is worship. But worship in Al-Islam does something even more that gives Al-Islam a special kind of identity. Worship in Al-Islam educates us. No one can say his prayer without being enlightened, if he listens closely to the words of his prayer.
Our prayer is also a form of education. In fact it is the highest and the best form of education. From it will come the inspiration, and not only this but also the incentive and the direction in which to go in pursuit of all the useful knowledge in creation. This is because if you pray, you must use the Qur'an. I can't pray and not use the Qur'an; when I pray, I must use the Qur'an. And this is the Book of Light; it is the Book of Enlightenment. So while I am praying, I am also being taught. I am being educated.
Even if I am not praying with that kind of awareness, it will influence me subconsciously without me even being aware that I am being conditioned. The Qur'an will condition my mind to love knowledge, to love intelligence, to pursue wisdom and good sense. The Qur'an will do that, and therefore I am being educated as I pray.
So this is salat. "Hayya alia salat," meaning come alive for prayer. We are then praying and reciting Qur'an and our minds are being awakened and turned on to intelligence, intelligent behavior and intelligent concerns. The Qur'an is doing that. Then there is "Hayya allal falah." which is come alive to the need to cultivate. And the Qur'an, itself, will also condition us for that particular duty as well.
But we should not be satisfied to finish prayer and not be engaged in some useful work. We will finish prayer and then we will go and answer the call for useful work. It is because it is required of us as worshippers. I am speaking of worship in the terms of salat, now. For there is also "i-ba-tha" that is worship that covers every act of the human being, And every act of the human being in our religion should be an act of worship.
If you arrived this morning and then made yourself presentable and made your living quarters presentable and left them in that presentable condition, and you left out among the people of the public in a "presentable" condition, then you have performed an act of worship according to our religion. When you speak the truth, when you speak kindness and extend courtesies to another person, then you are performing acts of worship in our religion. All of these are acts of worship, from the smallest to the highest.
(To be continued)